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Model A1311 / Late 2009 / 3.06 or 3.33 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Weird display issue - graphics card?

Hi all,

A relative shipped me a "dead" iMac (2009; 21.5"), saying that they thought it would be too expensive to repair the "motherboard". (They got a new Mac instead.)

However, when the iMac arrived, I plugged it in and booted it up in order to make my own diagnosis. Here's what I got:

Screen after booting

The mouse moves, and while the boot up seems mostly clean up until the end, at the last moment, I get only a partial "image" with some old-style static/pixelization at the bottom.

Following the tips & tricks here on this board, I plugged in an external display to confirm the source of the problem. No surprise - the external display is also static-y/pixelized.

From what I've read here so far, I am 90% certain this points to a fault in the graphics card itself.

Can anyone else kindly confirm this?

Thank you!

Beantwoord! Bekijk het antwoord Dit probleem heb ik ook

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Confirmed! Your Graphics card has a problem.

Follow this IFIXIT guide to get the logic board out: iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2308 Logic Board Replacement.

Your system came in two configurations:

  • MB950LL/A, which has a NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor that shares memory with the system (does not have a removable card)
  • MC413LL/A, which has an ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256 MB of dedicated GDDR3 memory. (has a removable MXM card).

Here's one source for the part: 661-5308, ATI Radeon 4670 Graphics card for a price reference.

Remember only the MC413LL/A models has a removable MXM card the other will require a complete logic board swap.

Logic boards:

  • 661-5305 - 3.06 GHz Integrated Graphics
  • 661-5306 - 3.33 GHz Integrated Graphics
  • 661-5307 - 3.06 GHz MXM Card
  • 661-5420 - 3.33 GHz MXM Card

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Thanks! I really appreciate the sanity check.


@Brad - Make sure you review the edits I added!


Yup, saw that. Honestly, I think I'd probably pay the Apple store to fix it given the complexity of the instructions. I mean, whatever it costs, I would argue it's still a discount off the cost of a new one.


No problem! ;-} Better to know up front what its going take.


Dan, I have a question for you. I have MC413LL/A, which has an ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256 MB of dedicated GDDR3 memory. Now I bough the 661-5305 logic board to replace mine. Do you think it will work? If yes, can I use my 661-5308, ATI Radeon 4670 Graphics card in this board besides it has onboard GPU? Thanks


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Same problem for me and your right. The graphics card is built in the motherboard but that necessarily doesn't mean that you have to change the whole motherboard it's just that it's more work. Remember when purchasing a graphics card the price range is between $200 to $300 dollars anything more is considered too expensive and anything lower than that is considered not good quality.

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Apple will maybe not fix it because it is considered vintage, that's what they told me. Go to Connecting Point, Apple recommended them because they are Apple specialists!


I take it you're in Florida.


Yes I am in fact.


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I realize this is a fairly cold thread, but I just wanted to say thanks to the folks that posted such helpful answers and info here. Prior to seeing this, I read a few things saying the 2009 iMacs were basically doorstops if the graphics went out, but I’m glad I kept digging and found this thread. I do indeed have the 661-5307 logic board, so I should be able to replace the 661-5308 graphics card… I have a new graphics card on the way and hope to get my iMac back on track soon.

I guess my only questions, for anyone that reads this, would be:

— any advice on the repair process? The iFixIt walkthrough in these comments looks pretty straight forward, and I’m comfortable w/ most repair procedures like this, but then I did kill a MacBook once trying to replace the hard drive…

— any other things I should look at replacing or upgrading while I have this thing opened up on the operating table? I already have a 1TB hard drive in here, and memory is maxed out… I can finally clean off the smudge from the inside of the display glass now too… ;-b

Thanks again, Mac on my friends…


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All the way through this whole repair…

On the old vid card, the cable that goes to the temperature sensor, and then connects to the MXM connector on the board, is just a tiny bit longer than the one on the replacement board I bought… and the new one’s cable doesn’t quite reach the jack!! So… I took the card itself off the heat sink assembly, swapped it onto the old one, and connected from there.

My concern is that perhaps the heat sensor or something in that system is what caused the card to go out in the first place. Are there any diagnostics tests I can run to isolate and test just that one sensor or system once I (hopefully) get back up and running?


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bradpeterson21 zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

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